SoCal broker sentenced in mortgage fraud scheme

A former mortgage broker has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for a fraud scheme that involved buying houses in some of Southern California's most ritzy neighborhoods and selling them to fake buyers at inflated prices.

Mark Alan Abrams was also ordered Friday to pay more than $41 million in restitution to two federally insured banks.

The 49-year-old Abrams had pleaded guilty to bank fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other charges.

Prosecutors say he and his business partner, Charles Elliott Fitzgerald, bought homes in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Malibu and then used fraudulent appraisal information to resell them for inflated amounts to fake buyers.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.